Library Employee Excellence Awards

The Smathers Libraries Employee Excellence Awards Program recognizes individual or group accomplishments in six categories: Behind the Scenes, Innovation, Instruction and Training, Outreach, Customer Service, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Awards are presented annually at the Smathers Libraries Convocation and include a certificate of distinction and $250. Group winners will receive $350 as a group, and the awarded funds can be split between group members or used to celebrate the accomplishment (e.g., party, lunch, equipment/software purchase).

All non-student, non-OPS George A. Smathers Libraries employees are eligible. Library employees may be nominated in as many categories as applicable. Library Deans and the Employee Recognition Committee members cannot be nominated as individuals, but are eligible as part of a group/team. If nominated, they may not participate in the review/selection process for the award.

The Dean of University Libraries and Associate Deans will determine recipients for the awards.

Submitting a Nomination

Nominations are currently open: June 6, 2023 to Friday, July 28 at 5 PM. To make a nomination, please complete the online nomination form.

You may nominate an individual or a group. For a group, please include the names of the group/team members in the nomination box.

The award criteria under each category will give you some ideas about what to highlight about your nominee.

You may also use the Library Strategic Directions that are related to each category, available at:

You will receive a submission confirmation and an email that your nomination is recorded.  If you do not receive this information in 24 hours, please contact the committee chair by email. 

Questions may be submitted to the Employee Recognition Committee by e-mailing

Award Categories

Behind-the-Scenes Award

The Behind-the-Scenes Award celebrates dedication and performance that improves library service, focused particularly on employees who do the critical work that makes all library operations possible, although they are usually not working directly in the public eye. Criteria for this category include:

  • Accomplishments that make a significant positive impact on a department, the libraries, and/or library users
  • Skills, talents, and efforts to create, maintain, and preserve the Libraries’ dynamic collection to satisfy the present and future educational needs of users and researchers
  • Consistent high standards of work upon which others rely
  • See also Strategic Directions 2 and 3

Innovation Award

The Innovation Award honors creativity and/or problem solving skills that resulted in innovative methods, projects, products or organizational enhancements to improve library impacts achieved through services, resources or operations. Criteria for this category include:

  • Accomplishments that integrate the Libraries into campus educational goals in new ways
  • Creation and successful implementation of new programs, up-to-date technology, tools, or uses of space and resources at the Libraries
  • Design and implementation of ideas and methods that drive innovation and discovery, and enhance learning and collaboration
  • Introduction of new workflows or processes that increase efficiencies or enhance outcomes
  • See also Strategic Directions 2, 3 and 6

Instruction and Training Award

The Instruction and Training Award recognizes an instructor or trainer who demonstrated excellence in teaching relevant skills, resources, and/or library-related knowledge to others. Criteria for this category include:

  • Modeling and promotion of high standards in personalized and collaborative Instruction/Mentoring
  • Skills that advance awareness of the Libraries’ resources and services and its role to teach and guide
  • Sharing of knowledge that significantly advances the performance or career of others
  • See also Strategic Direction 1

Outreach Award

The Outreach Award honors an individual or group who made an outstanding effort in reaching out to the university and/or to an outside or donor community in a unique or creative way. Criteria for this category include:

  • Leadership in collaborating with faculty from university colleges and centers to help bring the libraries’ services and collections into their teaching and research
  • Successful design and implementation of outreach activities, programs and/or workshops, especially to underserved or new audiences
  • Creative utilization of social media to promote Library services and collections and engage with users
  • See also Strategic Direction 5

Customer Service Award

The Customer Service Award acknowledges five star performance to all library users. While not all library employees work directly with patrons, all staff have the potential to make contributions that positively impact the provision of customer service in the Libraries. Criteria for this category include:

  • A record of work that improves customer service and satisfaction
  • Identifying and addressing new opportunities to positively impact the research, teaching and/or learning of library patrons
  • Excellent rapport with patrons that promotes a service ethic
  • Creation and successful implementation of new methods to assure effective and equitable access to library resources for all users
  • See also Strategic Directions 1, 2 and 6

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Award

The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award honors exemplary accomplishments that foster full participation by diverse and/or under-represented university personnel, students, and other stakeholders; contribute to a climate of inclusion within the Libraries, on campus and/or beyond; and promote diversity, equity, and inclusion to enhance educational, research or other outcomes. Criteria for this category include:

  • Successful enhancement of the library workplace or practices in ways that make the Libraries more welcoming, open, and equitable
  • Similar enhancements that adapt and broaden the Libraries’ services, spaces, materials and/or programs to include special or unaddressed needs
  • Demonstrated leadership in helping the Libraries and University to represent and meet the interests of a diverse world
  • See also Strategic Directions 4